WASHINGTON — The trial for an Arkansas man photographed with his feet up on a desk in former Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi’s office on Jan. 6 will continue as scheduled Monday after a judge denied the defense’s request for a continuance.
Richard “Bigo” Barnett, of Gravette, was arrested Jan. 8, 2021, and eventually indicted on seven counts, including felony counts of obstruction of an official proceeding and entering and remaining in a restricted building with a deadly or dangerous weapon. Last month, prosecutors filed a superseding indictment adding an eight count of civil disorder, also a felony. Barnett’s attorneys asked for a continuance of trial in light of the late addition of the charge, but U.S. District Judge Christopher Cooper denied that motion on Wednesday, saying he believed the conduct covered by the count was already described in other indicted charges.
A photograph of Barnett with one of his feet up a desk in the speaker’s office inside the U.S. Capitol Building was among the earliest viral images of the riot. In an interview with WUSA9’s sister station 5NEWS in Arkansas, Barnett said he was pushed inside the building when rioters broke through the door and eventually found himself inside the office occupied at the time by former Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA).
"I threw my feet up on the desk at that point," Barnett told 5NEWS. "I realized some a**holes had cut me also and I bled on her envelope. So I picked up the envelope and put it in my pocket, and I put a quarter on the desk cause I'm not a thief."
One of the misdemeanor counts against Barnett alleges theft of government property for the theft of the envelope.
While inside the office, Barnett is also accused of leaving Pelosi a note reading, "Hey Nancy, Bigo was here biatd [sic]."
Prosecutors say Barnett’s conduct on Jan. 6 was far more serious, however. They’ve accused him of intentionally joining the mob with the goal of obstructing the joint session of Congress – a felony which has earned other defendants convicted of the charge sentences of years in prison – as well as carrying a stun gun walking stick while inside the building. The civil disorder charge added last month accuses Barnett of forming an “opposition line” with others against police inside the Rotunda, according to representations prosecutors made in court Wednesday.
Barnett has denied any wrongdoing and his attorneys have previously claimed they believe there is even evidence of him providing assistance to police.
“We believe there is a video of Mr. Barnett actually helping a Capitol Police officer reestablish a barricade or move it back into its original position,” attorney Joseph McBride told Cooper during a status hearing in June 2021.
Barnett has assembled perhaps the largest defense team for an individually charged defendant. In addition to McBride, he will be presented at trial by attorneys Jonathon Gross, Bradford Geyer and Carolyn Stewart. Stewart and Geyer, a former federal prosecutor who most recently represented Oath Keeper Kenneth Harrelson in a trial involving charges of seditious conspiracy, joined the case late in December. Harrelson was convicted on three counts, but acquitted of three others, including the top charge of seditious conspiracy.
Jury selection for Barnett’s trial was scheduled to begin Monday. The trial was expected to last approximately a week.
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